SHAG: THE MOVIE D: Zelda Barron (1989); with Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, Annabeth Gish, Page Hannah, Carrie Hamilton, Leilani Sarelle, Tyrone Power Jr., Scott Coffey.
"This was our last weekend together, and we didn't feel like going to Fort Sumter and touring goddamn colonial homes! We wanted to go to the beach! And meet boys! And go to wild parties! And dance!" One of the most overlooked but greatest girl-movies of all time, Shag
is a meticulously crafted period piece that takes a look back at the summer of '63 -- a hallowed summer cinematically, a time that supposedly represented an innocent America untouched by the coming traumas of the Sixties. Shag
is the story of four Southern girls who, having just graduated from high school, toss off their original plan to tour old Civil War sites and instead hightail it to Myrtle Beach -- the forbidden zone of boys and booze. As they whoop it up, each of them has her eyes opened to a reality that is not part of the world their parents laid out for them. (The title refers to a Myrtle Beach dance contest one of the girls enters.) Toward the end of the movie, Carson McBride (Cates) tells her three best friends, "Y'all, I'm wild
. I guess I always have been -- I just didn't know it," and Cates' youthful beauty and innocence make that statement completely believable. Hannah seems to not take herself as seriously as her more famous sister, Darryl, does -- and her hilarious portrayal of the tight-assed Luanne Clatterback morphs from rigid propriety to semi-unbridled lust. Pudge finally meets a boy who loves her for everything she is, and Gish has a field day with the character. But it is Fonda's portrayal of the bad-girl preacher's daughter that steals the show. Described by one reviewer as "Dirty Dancing
meets Mystic Pizza
meets American Graffiti
," as a coming-of-age film, Shag
is nothing less than enchanting.